Diary of a WorkCover Victim – Authors
Our very popular site runs on the power of seriously injured workers and their supporters. We are also very fortunate to receive much needed support from many injured workers all over Australia, through contributions to articles, email commentaries, twitter, Facebook, shared stories, research, articles, sourced documents, links and much more… for which we are all eternally grateful!Meet some of the kick-butters
I was an experienced intensive care nurse who loved her job more than anything. In 2005 I was, violently physically assaulted by a large patient on night shift.
I underwent 7 major reconstructions and suffered 2 near fatal heart failures during surgeries. I am left with an extremely painful, debilitating total loss of function of my right, dominant arm and the workcover system has left me fighting for my dignity as well as sanity!
I also suffer from a permanent, painful nerve lesion to my right leg following the harvest of hamstring tendons, which were transplanted into my shoulder and from chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). And let’s not even mention the primary and secondary psychiatric injuries sustained including PTSD, depression, adjustment disorder and anxiety.
I continued to work full time – let me rephrase this – I was forced to continue to work full time by workcover for years [until 2010], without ever receiving the repeatedly, medical requested ergonomic support in the workplace [even with medical certificates stating that I was NOT allowed to work without ergonomics in place]. I kept tearing my shoulder to pieces over and over again ….!!!!
During my time on the workcover system [aka "the nightmare"], I have been subjected to jaw-dropping, horrific treatments at the hands of my workcover insurer, as well as at the hands of my [former] employer.
This site was born out of my sheer frustration, anger and grief regarding the workcover system where all is not made clear, where the waters are very murky, and when the chips are down, the very people who are responsible for duty of care and support simply choose to ignore you, the injured worker.
My treating psychologist and psychiatrist had asked me to commence a diary as part of my therapy. Given that I am unable to physically write, it had to be a digital journal and so it became a blog, where I could make use of voice recognition software and get help with making diary entries. That is also the very reason why this site is called “a workcover victims diary”. The rest… ah well… is history…. and future!
Because I had been violently, physically assaulted at work, I have – like you- become the “suspect” and the “enemy”.
My own experience has thought me to fully distrust the insurance company or the case manager – their attitudes and behaviours has led me to realise that “humanity” is something that is not exercised nor understood by them.
I continue to try to hold it together and to be strong and I will continue to stand up for our injured workers’ rights and will not be beaten. I dedicate this site to all injured workers who have been abused by the adversarial workcover compensation system and/or the workplace. May they never give up, may they fight like warrior for their legitimate rights, and, most importantly, may they hold onto their dignity, self-respect, self-esteem and sanity; and may they WIN!
John McPhilbin, a gutsy and very passionate injured workers advocate, suffered stress, severe depression and anxiety after a horrific bullying incident at work , after which he was forced onto workers compensation. His claim was initially declined and he was forced to fight for basic entitlement through the Workers Compensation Commission. He was successful in winning his case, however, that was only the beginning of his nightmare. Despite suffering from major depression as a result of his ordeal, he received little help from the insurance company. It took the insurance company, even after years of lobbying NSW politicians for help, to provide John with the support he desperately needed. He was left with very little support from the system for 6 years. John was left to languish for far too long and he almost lost everything as a result, he even contemplated suicide on his darkest days.
Whistleblower Beats Bullies
A security company employee who blew the whistle on a rampant bullying has had a win over insurance company attempts to deny him compensation.
Insurance company CGU accepted full liability after initially denying that bullying had left John McPhilbin with prolonged adjustment disorder.
McPhilbin’s stand against bullying at Chubb Security grew into a widespread union campaign to tackle the emerging workplace safety issue.
He addressed the launch of the Unions NSW Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Campaign in September last year, when his recounting of his experiences left many in the audience visibly moved.
Medical evidence showed that McPhilbin is suffering from a “prolonged adjustment disorder with anxious and depressed moods resulting from the hostility he faced at Chubb”.
“I feel vindicated,” says McPhilbin. “I had to personally establish that there were guidelines that Chubb and the insurance company ignored at every step of the way.
“It was me who had to point this out to them. I was opposed at every step of the way.
“The way it was managed made my situation increasingly worse.”
The decision is another step in tackling workplace bullying following the successful prosecution of a bullying incident at a Lidcombe joinery firm in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court last year.
McPhilbin is concerned that the problem could still be going at Chubb and wants to see systems put in place to address workplace bullying.
[As published on http://workers.labor.net.au/251/news84_bullies.html]
After caring as a nurse for 30 yrs I was injured from repetitive strain. I’ve been on the Workcover system since 2010. My experiences in this system has inspired my advocacy towards supporting injured workers human rights and dignity. As a vocal Christian I believe restoration is the will of God. Helping and heal the sick, returning health, dignity, self worth and justice back to Australian workers. I care. I’m a nurse. It’s my Passion.
Survivor was subjected to one of the most extreme forms of workplace bullying we ever heard of. She suffers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression and a Medical Panel found that she had suffered a 30% serious injury as a result of all this bullying. Survivor has never been able to work again and is deeply impoverished, homeless and completely dependent on the public purse for her survival.
A Diary of a WorkCover Victim- kick-started by seriously injured “Workcovervictim” in August 2011- has been designed and developed by a bunch of seriously injured workcover victims (and their families) who have-unfortunately- been dealing with the real workcover for too many years… and I am part of that “bunch”.
I suffered a serious back injury in the workplace some years ago and am here mainly as a support person to Workcovervictim who is grossly impaired and needs a lot of of physical help entering blog posts and researching articles.
I aim to empower you to stand up for your rights and to not put up with any crap from anybody! To help you to be diligent and to remember at all times to exert “due diligence” throughout your workcover ordeal. To help you not to be entrapped by anyone (case manager, IME etc), and to show and teach you that you are not alone and that you are not powerless – to make you aware of your rights and help you flaunt them – here lies your power!
We are the authors, seriously injured workers and invisible supporters (incl. abled family members and friends) behind A Diary of a WorkCover Victim. We help out with the physical typing and entering of articles when our seriously injured authors are having a rough day, and we also take care of the many emails we receive…
We hope this site, our and many other injured workers’ stories will somehow help other injured workers navigating the murky waters of the workcover system, and, at the very least, teach you to be extremely diligent in finding out your legitimate rights, always questioning the “system” in order to keep some sort of control within the workcover system.
The workers compensation is – in our opinion- extremely adversarial and they use tactics to wear you down, to make you emotionally bleed out, to break you, all in order to weaken your position and to maximise their insane profits.
Some of our co-authors and guest authors prefer to remain anonymous